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Or hear'st the Fleet-street dandy
heart reposes In bowers of twining roses, In those endearing hours Of nightingales and flowers, When Mrs. H. for me Prepares nectareous tea; And, when there are around us Those charming girls, who found us In our sweet solitude, And spite of voices rude, And the world's envy, came To watch o'er genius' flame
: ; O then, my friends, to lull u3 Into sweet thoughts, Catullus, Anacreon, Boccace, And each that loves a lass, Small smile upon our blisses Of quips, and cranks, and kisses ;And out of these we'll cater Thoughts that shall make us greater Than he we now sit under, A starveling age's wonder.”
ON MOSQUE AND TOWER.
and tower and ocean's stream, Trembles the sun's departing beam; Behind yon boat a foaming line Sinks, and the stars come forth and shine; While, over all, the red round moon Glows, and her beams show'r brightly down; The waves lie mute, the sea-fowl sleep, And Christian captives look and weep.
Hark! 'tis the sultan's secret door ;'
Backwards her raven locks she throws
No whisper now- -'tis not the
She pauses with a smother'd sigh,
But with the filial reasoner strové
One clasp he gave, and one sweet kiss ;
All tumult is and darkness now,
LORD BYRON-PAST AND PRESENT.
There was a fanciful theory among the ancients, respecting the souls of men, they imagined that the material frame, while alive, was governed by a four-fold principle, or, perhaps, four different principles of which, after death, the first and noblest betook itself to the stars ; the second was resolved into air; the third repaired to the Elysian Fields ; and the fourth hovered about the tomb of the defunct, and continued to interest itself in the affairs of the body. This was the shade, or umbra: and if we may judge of their different functions during life, from their destinies after it, we should say that this last and meanest of the four had always possessed an undue preponderance over the other three in the composition of Lord Byron. We perceive him all along a discontented spirit, restlessly repining after lost corporeal enjoyments, dissatisfied with his present state, yet willing, at all hazards, to ally himself with the body, for better and for worse. In his thoughts that lie beyond the grave, we find him still umbra. Of the lofty destiny of the first of the fourthe return of the fiery particle to the stellar sphere-he seems to have no idea. The aery dissolution of the second he appears rather to long for than desire
Oh that I were
With the blest tone that made me?" -Manfred. Still less does he look forward to a paradisiacal state, in which the immaterial part shall become heir to a quasi-corpus, and enjoy, in some visionary form, an individual and blessed existence. These heaven-peoplings he attributes to our own desiring phantasy !” Some middle, uncomfortable, lifein-death kind of being, such as that of the umbra, is all that remains. We speak of him as he appears in his earlier productions ; in which, however, frequent bursts of the higher natures are manifest. At present, we cannot help fancying that they have all betaken themselves to their several destinations—that the Author of Manfred and Childe Harold is, indeed, deceased—and that the “ Island," and the latter cantos of “Don Juan,” have been written by his Lordship's dead body, under the sole dictation of his umbra. On our word, they smell strangely of mortality!
Lord Byron has long been considered by the public, not only of this, but of all other countries to which English literature is familiar, as “the first of living poets." His reputation has been as complete, in every respect, as any man treading the higher walks of poetry could expect in his own life-time; and more extensive, we think, than one whose views aspired to permanent fame ought, in prudence, to desire,—at least, during the early part of his career. He has not merely gained an elegant notoriety in the upper circles as a writer of fashionable levities, like the wits of Charles the Second's time; nor won the ladies' hearts through the medium of some sweet and affecting tale in rhyme, to be bound in green morocco for boarding-school presents, like Campbell, and many more we could name, in our own. He has not merely come into notice from prosecutions by the AttorneyGeneral, or by publications which the Lord Chancellor has excluded from the pale of the laws of copyright; nor does he, in any degree, stand in the condition of those who, like some of our friends, recommend themselves to the purses and the praises of the pseudo-moralists, by the delightful tendency of their works, and the judicious intermixture of religious pretension, with lisping passion. He has not merely arrested, for a brief while, the attention of poetry-readers, by the lucky adoption of some taking mannerism, some affected tricksy prettiness, like Barry Cornwall; nor does his fame rest as Wordsworth's long did, on the sympathy and admiration of a few enthusiastic individuals of peculiar directions of feeling and uncommon habits of thought. In none of these ways has he courted the suffrages of any part, however large, of the reading world. He has been read, admired, and imitated all over Europe, and in this country by persons of all ranks and professions, ages, and sexes. His poems (his earlier ones at least) are to be found in the drawing-room of the peer and the boudoir of his lady,--under the pillow of his daughter, and the prayer-book of her grandmother ;-the tradesmanthe country-clergyman—the very squire of the parish himselfall read Lord Byron: nay, even in the cottage of the rustic, we fear, he has not unfrequently superseded the “Whole Duty of Man," and the works of that dear ally of virtue, and unconscious poet, John Bunyan.
How this high and wide repute was originally obtained, and whether it was at any time fully deserved,
-whether there be not in poetry, as in painting and music, a legitimate appeal from the voice of the many, to the judgment of the few,-from the many whose habits and educations render them not merely unacquainted with the medium through which the impressions producible by poetry are conveyed, but insusceptible of the impressions themselves to the few whose minds have been educated for the inquiry, and whose attentions have been long occupied by it: whether popular favour, however extensive, be in itself a proof of sterling excellence, or an earnest of future fame; and whether, if this point be determined in the negative, the effect produced by Lord Byron's works may not be traced partly to temporary and occasional causes, and partly to an origin, which though of an universal nature, reflects no great credit either on the author or his readers, and which, at all events, is utterly unconnected with poetical power: these and many other questions, of considerable interest, might fairly be discussed on the present occasion with less than the usual license granted to essays of this description. But, in truth, our business is not now with Lord Byron, idolized for his supposed genius, and pardoned sometimes even by the devout for its misuse,—the fine, handsome, gloomy, vicious, cravatless hero of lady novelists ;-but with Lord Byron, somewhat fat and faded, the author of a dull poem that has made
Vol. I. PART II.